My grandfather had quite a good collection of nature encyclopedia. As a child I use to look at all the pictures in these books over and over, and of all the places described in his books, it was always the enchanting islands of the Galapagos that drew most of my attention. They seemed as almost not part of the world, and definitely not as a possible destination to get to. Ever.

hen I offered the possibility to go and explore the Galapagos last autumn, about 30 years later when my grandfather showed me his books, I did not hesitate for a moment of course. This was going to be my first trip to South-America. I was very excited of course!

With a really nice ship, the Samba and the greatest crew and natural guide ever, we sailed around most of the islands, during a two weeks trip.
I had the biggest problems choosing the right gear, because I wanted to photograph everything above and under water. I ended up travelling with two fully loaded duffle bags each weighing just up to the limits, a fully loaded Mr Jan Gear Boris backpack, and a big overloaded laptopbag. It all fitted nicely in the plane, but since I was sharing a cabin on the boat, it was impossible to get all my gear inside. So I ended up having all the gear spread out all over the boat.

Days were very good organised: landings or boat excursions during first hours of the day, snorkling during the midday when the light is too hard for above water photography, and again excursions in the late afternoons. We are the equator, and sun rises and sets so fast!

Although animals are so tame, and you get very close to them, I decided to bring my 600mm lens anyway, since I love the light weight of this new Nikon lens, and the bokeh it gives. I knew we were to follow paths so it was going to be difficult at times to choose the background you want, and with a 600mm lens you are more able to zoom in the landscape and exclude disturbing backgrounds. I switched with wideangles and telezoom and cameras as Nikon D5, D810 and D500. For snorkling I used my Nikon D810 in a Hugyfot POM house fitted with the new Hugyfot 9″ glass dome, which is a beast to pack and walk around, but indispensable for sharp wide angle photography and split images.

This was a first tour to the Galapagos, and it was a prospection, so not a real photography expedition, but I managed to get some nice conditions, and I’m looking so much forward to guide this trip next year with my buddy Jeffrey in november 2018. This trip will only be dedicated to photography, so it will be a blast! I’m very happy we are finally offering this destination to our photographers!

Thanks again for such a wonderful trip Samba crew, and in particular Juan, never met such a good guide!